Online Colleges in Michigan

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The state of Michigan is steering students in the right direction.

Online Colleges in Michigan

In 2006, the car capital of the world became the first state to require all high school students participate in an online course or learning experience prior to graduation in order to ensure they are prepared for online courses at the postsecondary level.

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It’s clear that the state’s policymakers value education and are willing to invest in the future of students.

Overview of Higher Education in Michigan

university student studying in library

Michigan is home to 94 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of those, 46 are public schools, 40 are non-profit private schools and 8 are for-profit private schools.

To attend one of the state’s 4-year public institutions, the NCES reports that residents will pay approximately $12,888 Nonresidents will pay closer to $35,844. Both price tags are amongst the highest in the nation. Those in the Midwest, however, may get a break. Michigan is part of a nine-state tuition reciprocity program called the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP).

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MSEP allows students to enroll at public colleges and universities in participating states while paying no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate. This gives students access to a much greater selection of courses.

About Online Colleges in Michigan

college student taking online class at home

In 2018, the NCES reported that 9.5% of college students in Michigan were enrolled exclusively in online courses, and another 16.1% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses.

Since then, online learning options have continued to grow considerably as schools have realized the need for flexible education alternatives. Today nearly every postsecondary school in the state offers online courses and/or degree programs.

At Michigan State University more than 100 graduate and undergraduate course are offered online, and students can choose from dozens of degree programs that are offered in both fully online and hybrid formats. Similarly, Central Michigan University offers dozens of online college programs at the undergraduate, graduate and certificate levels in popular areas like Business Administration, Nursing, Education and more.

At the community college level, 28 institutions have banded together to form Michigan Colleges Online (MCO). Following a simple enrollment process, MCO allows students to take courses from any member school and easily transfer the credits back to their home institution.

Scholarships and Financial Aid in Michigan


If you’re thinking about pursuing a degree at a college or university in Michigan, you should first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will allow you to access federal, state and private financial aid.

Financial aid is typically awarded on a first come, first served basis, so it’s important to apply as soon as possible. The FAFSA application becomes available each year on October 1st. The application process itself is quite simple. You will need to answer questions about your finances and the finances of your parents (unless you’re considered “independent” by FAFSA’s standards).

The information you provide will be used to determine how much and what kind of financial aid you are offered. The best types of financial aid are grants and scholarships, because they do not have to be repaid. In Michigan, the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning, a department within the Michigan Department of Treasury, oversees a number of grant and scholarship programs for college students, including:

  • Michigan Tuition Grant – Need based; Available to undergraduates at independent non-profit colleges and universities; Up to $2800
  • Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS) – Need and merit based; For those who scored at least a 1200 on the SAT; Up to $1000 per year
  • Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) – Need based; Incentive to complete high school by providing tuition assistance for college; Must meet Medicaid eligibility and apply prior to graduation
  • Children of Veterans Tuition Grant – For the natural or adopted child of a Michigan veteran who is totally and permanently disabled, missing in action or deceased; Up to $2800 per year
  • Police and Firefighter’s Survivor Tuition Grant – For the spouse or natural or adopted child of a police officer or firefighter who was killed in the line of duty; Waives full tuition
  • Fostering Futures Scholarship (FFS) – For students who have formerly been in foster care; Up to $3000

While the programs above are state-funded, there are also numerous private scholarships available to the citizens of Michigan.

The Saginaw Community Foundation (SCF) works with individual donors as well as local nonprofits to administer more than 300 charitable funds and 150 scholarships. Students can register accounts and apply for funds via the website. Here are a few of the scholarships available through SCF:

Scholarship Name Scholarship amount
Brandon Walker “BW” Memorial Scholarship Varies
Bernice Barlow NAACP Scholarship Varies
Bernie Smillie Memorial Scholarship Varies
Circle Michigan Scholarship Varies
Clifford H. Spicer Memorial Scholarship Varies

Additional scholarship opportunities can be found at scholarship search sites like, where you can enter basic information and be matched with dozens of scholarships available both locally and nation-wide.

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Each college and university also offers its own assistance options. Check with the financial aid office at the school you’re considering to find out what you may qualify for and how to apply.

List of Online Colleges in Michigan

Online Colleges in Michigan Annual Tuition Application Fee
Baker College  $9,000  $30
Central Michigan University  $12,150  $35
Cleary University  $17,600  $35
Cornerstone University  $26,860  $0
Eastern Michigan University  $11,209  $35
Ferris State University  $11,290  $0
Grace Bible College  $12,644  $0
Kettering University  $39,790  $0
Lawrence Technological University  $31,140  $30
Michigan State University  $14,062  $65
Michigan Technological University  $14,634  $0
Northern Michigan University  $9,766  $35
Northwood University  $25,130  $30
Spring Arbor University  $26,730  $30
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor  $14,402  $75
University of Michigan – Dearborn  $12,032  $30
University of Michigan – Flint  $10,344  $0
Western Michigan University  $11,493  $40


group of students from University of Michigan

The state of Michigan is clearly committed to higher education. With excellent financial aid programs and plenty of online learning opportunities, they’re driving that point home.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.